China will be central to the new US administration’s approach to the grain-based food industry following a period of heightened tensions under the Trump administration, World Grain reported on 2 February.

Surging demand from China and weather problems in major crop growing areas had driven grain and oilseed prices higher over the past year, the report said, and tensions with the former Trump administration had heightened.

China had fallen short of its commitments in a Phase One agreement between the two countries, World Grain said. Up to November 2020, Beijing had bought less than 50% of an agreed US$159bn in US goods and services.

However, China had purchased more than two-thirds of its targeted amount of agricultural goods, according to the report.

Strong demand for soyabeans and soya products had helped push US prices to multi-year highs, World Grain said, with the US Department of Agriculture forecasting that China would import 100M tonnes of soyabeans in 2020/21.

Following the rapid recovery of China’s livestock herds from African swine fever (ASF), forecasters from Standard & Poor’s were expecting Chinese soyabean imports in 2021/22 to reach 110M tonnes or higher, World Grain reported.

Some industry figures feared that the new US administration would reduce pressure on China, according to World Grain.